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ANTIGUA & DOMINICAN REPUBLIC CASINO SCAM ALERT!!

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Several Caribbean land based casinos are hosting what is evidently a confidence trick posing as a casino game. The game is promoted at casinos in Antigua and in the Dominican Republic and possibly in St. Maarten and other locations as well. The name of the game varies but they all work essentially the same way.

It may be tempting to simply dismiss the victims of these casinos as rather foolish sore losers. But the consistency of their descriptions should lead one to the conclusion that this is actually a carefully orchestrated fraud involving several co-conspirators, each one presumably getting a cut of the takings. The operators of these games use a combination of psychological pressure, sleight of hand, plain old lies, and ultimately physical intimidation to con unsuspecting tourists out of thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes. Their behavior strongly suggests that they may well be linked to organized crime.

The game is played using a set of numbered ping pong balls in a machine resembling a lottery number generator. Players are enticed by offering them a free turn to get them started. The balls are blown around in a plastic bubble and the player gets to pick one out using a long pole with scoop on the end. The object of the game is to accumulate 100 points based on the numbers shown on the selected balls. This is supposed to win you a cash prize.

Grand Princess Casino in Antigua calls their game Super Rainbow Jackpot. tripadvisor.com has several negative posts from victims of the Grand Princess Casino in Antigua. You can find them here -

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147242-d613152-r5429934-Grand_Princess_Casino-Antigua_Antigua_and_Barbuda.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147242-i225-k1421354-Scams_at_the_grand_princess_casino_in_Antigua-Antigua_Antigua_and_Barbuda.html


Here's one of them -

July 5, 2006
11/12 found this review helpful
We encourage you to visit Antigua and the fine resorts, including the neighboring Jolly Beach Resort. It is an absolutely beautiful vacation destination. However, we HIGHLY recommend that you avoid the Grand Princess Casino completely during your visit. In our opinion, the Rainbow Jackpot game at this casino is virtually criminal and was our only lasting negative impression of the wonderful island of Antigua.
This game involves players randomly scooping numbered ping pong balls from a bin with a long pole. The game will appear very easy initially and then turns absolutely impossible as players approach the jackpot. The apparent reason for this is because numbers on the balls are often not as they appear to the player.
The numbers on the balls are so small and widely spaced that the very quick glimpses of the ball that the dealer gives to the players can make the ball’s number appear to be much different. The way the ball is rotated as it is displayed to the player can make the number appear far different than it is. For example, if a ‘12’ ball is a beneficial number for the player to draw; the dealer will show 12 as the player begins working toward the jackpot. However, this doesn’t mean the player is actually drawing a 12 ball. They may be drawing a 12 ball or any ‘losing number ball’ from 120 to 129’ or a losing ‘112’ ball. These ‘losing’ balls are rotated to appear as a ‘12’ ball in the early stages, as they are quickly flashed by the dealer. Few players are going to question the dealer at this point, when they appear to be doing well’. This keeps the interest of the player and encourages them to invest more bets since the jackpot seems easily obtainable. No winnings are paid until the jackpot is reached, but the sunk cost of bets as the player works toward the jackpot are lost. As the player nears the jackpot, the jackpot grows, but the amount required for each bet also grows. The increasingly attractive jackpot prize distracts players from the actual size of new bets and sunk costs of prior bets. As the player closes in on the jackpot, if a ‘losing 120’ ball is drawn, it will be shown as the losing ‘120’. If you review the odds posted far above the player’s head, you will see how very few ‘winning’ balls are really in the bin. If by chance, the ‘winning’ 12 ball is drawn at this point, it will be rotated to appear as a ‘losing 2’ or even claimed to be a ‘losing 112’ and displayed so quickly that it is not humanly possible for the players to clearly see that it was, in reality, the winning ‘12 and not ‘112’. The ball is VERY quickly tossed back into the ball bin and lost in the mix. This scam cycle continues so that the player NEVER reaches the jackpot. The player eventually quits or runs out of funds, at which point all costs of mounting bets to reach that point are lost.
When I plainly caught the dealer in this scam, he obviously denied it, refunded a few prior bets and give us a few free plays to try to keep us at the table. Fortunately, we caught the scam far earlier than many other unfortunate guests and were robbed of ‘only’ $60 versus thousands that could be very quickly be lost. We did not attempt any other table games at the resort, but the slots did not pay out to anyone in our group of 15.
It’s a shame that such an unfortunate situation is allowed to exist and sour this otherwise wonderful vacation experience in Antigua. You should also be aware that the Grand Bay Casino next to Sandals at Dickenson Bay is owned and operated by the same persons as the Grand Princess.
There are quite a number of casinos in the Dominican Republic which
host essentially the same setup. The web site http://www.superkenoscam.com has extensively documented the details of this fraud. A complete overview of the game and how it is played is given here -

http://www.superkenoscam.com/theGame.htm

Around 50 victims have documented first hand accounts of their experiences here -

http://www.superkenoscam.com/utilities/gbook/default.asp

Here are just some of the postings -


Comments by N & S on Saturday, December 01, 2007 at 14:32

Just returned from Barcelo Premium (Breezes) Punta Cana AI resort. We decided to go to the Casino when the nightly show & band was rained out. Normally my wife and I don’t gamble, but we got Black Jack coupons at the resort to prompt us to go and try it out. When we arrived, they gave us $10 to try out a complimentary game of “Bonus Bingo”. The dealer “Pete” from Boston was great...we were so glad to talk to an American. The game description was vague in the beginning but seemed straight forward when we started to win. Got to 97 points and were really encouraged, especially by Pete our Dealer. We thought we had the $800 jackpot and this would be the night that turned a so-so vacation into a memorable one. Well, we kept drawing balls and they were Doubling the Jackpot and the Bets and started to get worried, but again encouraged that we were soooo close and we’d bail out. Anyway, exactly like everyone else describes we were worried to lose $2,000 in bets that it started to exponentially double triple & so on until we were spending over $30,000 just to try to get the last 3 points that we needed to turn this around. Another young couple at the resort lost over $15,000 that night!! It was a NIGHTMARE...we were scared about complaining, about accusing a scam, about anything. Before we read on this site the day AFTER returning, we were accepting that we got greedy and gambled on the win but how can you gamble on something that you can’t ever win!! If anyone has information or support, please contact us. Thanks!
United States


Comments by chris on Monday, February 27, 2006 at 07:59

Just came back from Secrets Excellance and was victim of the same exact method as the rest of you. Me and my wife were going into the casino to play a little blackjack when a girl at the door met me with to $20 chips to be only used at Super Keno. She put her hand on my back and steered me right over to the scumbag crooks waiting. Conveniently the dealer was from NY just like me and befriended us right away. Another American was sitting at the table, his job seemed to be to small talk with me and distract me. The dealer gave me a quick rundown and then started to tell me all the additional rules as each ball came up. He said it was amazing I had reached 85 pts so quickly and was just a matter of minutes before I would be at the jackpot. All the balls after that were sure enough doubles or a number I had all ready gotten. As the jackpot grew to 102,000 I was assured the charges on my credit card would be taken off as soon I won. They were using high pressure to get me to raise my credit limits on my cards and took me in the back to use their phone. Thank god the credit card companies stopped it. The total loss for me now is $10,200. The dealer and his accomplice offered to freeze the game for me till the next day, since I was up to 95 points now and was so close to the jackpot. That night I realized I never got to see one number from those balls. The dealer was very smooth at directing my attention to the board to see what we got. The next day I decided to complain to the hotel where obviously I got nowhere. I did some research on the internet and found this site, which confirmed my hunch that this was all a big scam. I was sick to my stomach reading the other horror stories that sounded the same as mine. I was thinking it couldn’t be a scam in at a 5 star resort. I met with the casino manager and his partner that evening showed them all of the info I printed out from your website and the page I got from the US embassy and he tried to tell me no one complains when they win, I said none wins. He tried to tell me he had 2 winners the same night I played which I told him was a direct lie. I was in the casino from 9 that night till 1:30 and didn’t see anyone else play the game but me. The game opens at 830 and I was in such shock at what happened I sat in a chair in the casino for a hour after I was raped. I told them I wanted my money back, he called his supervisors and was talking back and forth with his partner in Spanish before telling me in English that they don’t return money. He offered me 10% off what I owed $247, thanks. After I left the meeting with the casino manager, I went to my room to cancel my credit cards because I still owed them 2470 and thought they might charge it on their own. Every time I was trying to block the payments on the phone to the credit card companies, the hotel phone would conveniently drop the call as soon as I was explaining what had happened to the fraud department. 8 straight calls dropped in the middle of talking to someone. Coincidence? My cell phone was also stolen from me the next morning while either on the beach or in the restaurant. I might have been being paranoid but me and my wife thought we might have been in danger for stirring up problems with there scam. I realized with all of the employees wages being so low, everyone could be bought. Our hotel manager Marco was obviously, the way he was asskissing the casino manager. I didn’t feel safe till we were back in the U.S.A. when I got back home I called the charge companies who have done nothing to help me. They told me to call the police. Yeah that will help!
United States

Comments by scammed on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 at 14:19

They would cover up the number one with their thumb on the ball 149 to make you think you just picked 49 which happens to be the 50 point ball. They would do this within the first two balls when you’re not really watching closely. All the good balls happen to be two digit numbers and you would only get these numbers if they wanted you to get these by putting his thumb over the number one. I would bet all my money that there isn’t even one two digit ball in all the balls therefore you have no chance of getting a point ball unless the dealer puts his thumb over the number one.
United Kingdom


Comments by From Trip advisor page on Thursday, March 10, 2005 at
21:09

RIPOFF!! Beware of the Grand Princess Casino in Antigua located at Jolly Harbor. This place is a ripoff. As you walk in you will be greeted and directed over to a “progressive” game. Where after a one sentence explanation of the way the game is played, you find yourself in the middle of the game. I lost over US$6,000 in a space of one half hour. With this game you use a four foot pole with a scoop at the end to get a ping pong ball. The balls have a number which correspond to the other numbers on the table. The dealer is very good about directing your eyes and attention to the table, so you almost never get to see the numbers on the balls. The dealer also lies to you by telling you that certain numbers are good for you, but in reality they are the ones that put you in a hole really fast. In essence those numbers required you to continue to double your bet, until you run out of money. Stay away from this place, and tell all your friends.
United States


Comments by Jack E on Thursday, January 06, 2005 at 18:18

On Dec. 24 2004, I went to the Casino at Breezes in Punta Cana. Upon arrival we were give two FREE chips to play Caribbean Keno. We very quickly got to 98 points and $640.00 bets. We ran out of $$, but they were nice enough to “hold” the table for me while I went back to my room and got more $$. I had to quit because we ran out. It was the next day that I thought about, I never got to look right at the ball to see the #’s, I fished out the balls, the dealer read out the #’s, and I scanned the board to see if I was a winner. I believe that the dealer only calls out the #’s he wants to. When you get the balls with 40-50 points on them right off the bat, you do not question it. later when you are not getting points, just double your bet/pot,or the same dam blue # as the last 4 times he shows those balls to you. I wish I had found this site before my visit to the DR.
But I did get a FREE drink!
It was a long week on the Beach with my wife reminding me she told me it was a scam when I was only at $1,000.00 out of pocket!
Canada




Comments by Bob on Wednesday, December 08, 2004 at 12:38

Got scammed to the tune of $7k in late November virtually the same way that everyone else describes. The game has to be rigged, we are not all just sore losers or have the worst luck in the world. I had to come back the next day to pay a $2,000 “marker” that they made me sign even thought I didn’t think that they would let me play past the daily limit on my credit card for cash advances. The casino staff would not answer any of my questions and insisted that they didn’t know anything, that the game was run by a different company. I thought it strange then that the casino was the one running my credit cards and taking my $2k cash. We thought about leaving to stay at a new town in the DR because they had asked where we were staying early in the game and before I knew that it was a scam I told them. So, they knew where we were staying and had a copy of my driver’s license from home, credit card number, etc. I asked the owner of the resort we were staying in what they would do if I skipped town on the $2,000 because I thought that maybe since they knew it was a scam they would be happy with the cash and credit card amounts they got from me and not come after me for the $2,000. However, the owner told me that if I did not return the next night like I was told to do that they would probably be at the resort asking for us by the next morning and if they did not find us they would send the police/military after us to put me in jail and probably had connections at the airport to not let us leave the country. We decided to get $2k cash from the bank and go back and pay in order to not run the risk of getting hurt even though I knew I should not pay the “stolen” money. I certainly wish I had a terminal illness or something to not care about my life and could deal with all of these guys and companies in the way that they deserve. I feel like I had to pay a bribe in order to not be held kidnapped any longer, or worse to get a family member out of a kidnapping situation. My only saving grace is that I stopped when I did. I have never been so angry. Somehow, more people have to be warned, I wish I would have been before the trip rather than finding all of this after we got taken.

United States


Comments by Andy on Thursday, October 21, 2004 at 14:36

Hi,
My name is Andy and I just returned from the Secrets Excellence Hotel near Punta Cana. On my second night there my wife and I walked into the casino and were given $10 in complementary chips that had to be played only at there super keno table. After a little play the jackpot doubled and doubled again, and I was at around 85 points. Before long I was stuck betting $1180 a “draw” with 99 points, and luckily ran out of money on my credit card limit (about $6000). It was suggested that I could come back the next night & continue, which I had planned on doing. After all the 1 point I had left was inevitable their own sign said twenty some balls were “point” balls, after all that sounded like great odds to me. (7% chance or so to win a fifty thousand dollar jackpot. And then I thought some more, the odds were just too damn good, there was no event that would “stop” the game from progressing, therefore in theory if you had enough money and in a fair game the jackpot had to be won. Thank goodness I had enough common sense to check the internet the next day and found enough info to know I needed to stop after about a $6000 loss. If I didn’t find that I’m sure the damage could have been a lot worse, since I was prepared to get more money (never been so happy in my life someone didn’t take AMEX) . These guys are smooth- still don’t know how they do it, but did notice how the ball is always removed from the stick in such precision, hand to hand, while one finger was always on the black stripe on the ball as it was transferred. Throughout the next several nights I saw couple after couple scammed the same way, I talked to several after they lost to find out a similar story every time. I wish I could have warned them but I was actually scared to say anything to anyone. I had read a few bad posts out there (i.e. run by mafia - and these guys - who knows). I would love to see you get these guys! Feel free to contact me if there is anything I can do.
Phynance9900@hotmail.com
United States


Comments by TripAdvisor User from Texas on Monday, October 18, 2004 at
15:16

The main con (literally) & the reason we will never return is the Super Keno game in the casino. I’m not a gambler - have just played a little slots & blackjack & when I lose my 20-40 $, I’m done. This was different - they sucker you in with free chips, bring you to the table, then rope off the table so no one else can approach you. You quickly & easily make your first 95 or so points, then every ball you pull is either a dupe or a double - and you watch your bets double & double (ours went from $5 to $640) - but you feel you cannot walk away because by now, you’ve got so much “invested”, and it was so easy to get those first 95 points, how could you not get those last 5? But in fact, you won’t. Ever. The dealers hide the ball #s and tell you they are one number (a dupe) when they aren’t. Somehow (we have no direct proof other than the fact this happened to everyone else we talked with) they weigh the balls down once you’re suckered in, so you cannot get the last few points you need. I would have chalked this up to bad luck if it weren’t for meeting 7 other couples (all previously strangers to one other) over the next few days who had the EXACT same experience - rapid move to 95 points, then doubles & dupes & never gaining the last few points. Each lost from $500 - $20,000! We have filed, as a group, complaints with Hilton management at the Coral Hamaca & U.S. corporate offices, and with the casino. Lots of promises from the locals that they would get back with us - it’s been over a week & nothing communicated to any of us yet. Beware!! Stay out of the casino.
A TripAdvisor user from Forth Worth,Texas, posted about the Coral
Hamaca by Hilton on www.tripadvisor.com on April 27, 2003

Comments by Carol B. on Monday, October 18, 2004 at 15:15

My name is Carol B. I just returned from Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic from a short trip with my husband Jerome. We have been to Puerto Plata and have stayed at the same resort twice and decided on this vacation we would try a different place called the Paradise Resort and Casino. Our visit lasted from may 30 until June 3, 2004. On the second evening of our stay my husband and I decided to visit the Tropical casino which was located right at the resort. We walked into the casino and were immediately greeted by a woman who handed us a chip. She stated that the chip was worth five dollars at the new “Super Keno” game, and walked us over to where the game was located. The game was in a corner, and was ran by what looked to be the only two American’s working in the casino facility. They were both smooth talking, and I can’t even begin to tell you exactly what happened next because it happened so fast, it was only after the incident occurred that my husband and I realized we had been involved in a scam. We have only been at the Super Keno game for a total of ten minutes when I was told to “please, come with me” by a Dominican gentleman who said we owed him $5,080.00 and our credit card company had denied me the amount. I had given the American gentleman my credit card after they requested it because my husband was running short of cash. The Dominican gentleman had strong armed me into calling my credit card company and having them accept the charges. It was the closest I’ve ever felt to having a gun held to my head, I was extremely intimidated, and I did what the gentleman asked. All I remember is being told that we were only two points away from winning $65,000 at the “Super Keno” table. “Just initial here” is what the American man kept saying, and I guess I was initialing an amount that was being charged to my credit card. I still don’t know how the game is played and it occurred to my husband and I that we never saw the balls numbers in the beginning of the game which would make sense how we could be doing so well.
I know that this incident has happened on more than one occasion, I have to ask could these people be scamming hundreds of tourists for an extreme amount of money and how long will they continue to get away with it?
Posted by Carol B. about the Paradise Resort and Casino at Puerto
Plata
United States

Comments by Kingofdice on Friday, October 15, 2004 at 19:27
Posted on DR1 Forums about the Hotel Meliá casino at Santo Domingo, on
May 12, 2002.
The first [time] I saw the game, was at Hotel Meliá in Santo Domingo, Dec. 2000. It’s ran as an outpost of the mafia by a couple [of] guys, that dress in tuxedo attire, because the game has such low respect that they do everything to give it some air of legitimacy. Anyway, there is no way you can win a huge jackpot. The scam begins by telling prospective players someone won two or three thousand dollars the night before, or even a larger amount. So, it cannot be substantiated.
The scam continues by letting players win $10 or $20 to lure them into making more bets to win larger sums of money. They give players a long pole and then fish ping pong balls out of a hoper. First, you can be damn sure they are not going to let someone win $5000, $10000 and walk out of the casino. It just does not happen and the player has no idea of what balls are really in the hopper.
In the past year, the Super Keno scam has moved to the Coral Hamaca, ran by the same mafia still. In October 2001, I watched a British couple lose almost a $1000 and watched the complete loss cause the couple to scream at each other in the casino. This past Saturday night, I watched a German man loose hundreds of cash dollars. Then when he was all tapped out, the Super Keno scam operators induced the guy to use his credit card to continue making more bets. I had almost forgot about this episode until leaving the casino after midnight. The Keno operators were all sitting outside the Hamaca entrance and I overheard them talk among themselves, gloating on how they took this German guy for $1300 who tried to go for the big kill in their keno game. They were laughing at what an “easy mark” this guy had been. Then I remembered the [German] guy sitting in the casino tapped out, with his head hung in his hands, devastated. Same scene as the married couple last fall. This woman was actually in tears over the money that her husband had lost, trying to win this elusive Super keno Jackpot. True, no one dragged these individuals into the casino. But the game itself should be outlawed. It’s disgraceful too that the Hamaca allows the Super Keno Game to operate in its casino.
United States


The government of Antigua has received many complaints from victims of this fraud but refuses to take any meaningful action. Since they get a significant percentage of all gambling proceeds they may not be entirely objective in their response. The Antigua Gaming Commission is responsible for regulating all land based and online gambling on the island. Clearly they are falling short in protecting those who use these facilities. Anyone contemplating wagering in Antigua is urged to carefully consider the risks before making any financial commitment.

Please, please do your fellow travelers a big favor by letting them know the dangers.

Thank you for your time,

Hans

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